Luke 10:17
Jesus Christ is sending his disciples, two and two, to prepare his way; it is certain that by some towns and villages they will be well received, and equally certain that by others they will be repelled. He tells them that those who received them would be doing more and better than barely receiving them, - they would be entertaining him; but those who rejected them would do more and worse than repulsing them, - they would be despising him, nay, even the Father himself. That there is more in our acts, and so in our lives, than appears on the surface was a frequent doctrine of our Lord. In his first sermon he intimated that those who cherished a causeless anger or spoke a contemptuous word against their brethren were guilty of a very serious offense in the sight of God; and so also they who imagined themselves chargeable with nothing more than a hasty word (see Matthew 5:22, 34-36). He told his disciples that that "poor widow" was making a very much larger offering than the rest - a much greater one, we may be sure, than she herself suspected (Luke 21:1-4; see also Luke 23:34). Christ saw more in men's actions, both for good and evil, than they saw themselves at the time. It is the wisdom of the wise to recognize much in words and deeds, in decisions and in actions, which seem small to those that do them. Our human life is larger than we think as we live it; its several actions have more seriousness in the sight of God, and from our life greater issues will proceed than any we can estimate. This main underlying principle will apply to -

I. THE MESSENGERS AND THE MESSAGES THAT COME TO US FROM JESUS CHRIST. There may come to speak to us concerning the habits or the purpose of our life, or the character we are forming, or the good we are doing or leaving undone, or the prospects that are before us, some messenger that appears in very humble form, not delegated by any high authority, not sustained by any learning, not armed with any eloquence; there may be nothing more about the outward spokesman than a plain or even a blunt man, nothing better about the form of the message than a periodical which has no worth in the market at all; and yet the message which comes through that very common, through that vulgar medium, may come from above, may come from Christ himself, to warn or to arrest us, to lead us out of the dark shadows we were entering, into the path of life. And in repelling that message we should be rejecting the very truth of God; in accepting and heeding it we should be welcoming our Lord himself, and taking his Divine influences into our soul. This principle of the greater value and seriousness of our life finds an illustration in -

II. THE STUDIES OF YOUNGER DAYS. They who have to go through the daily task in the school or home see nothing more in their work than the laborious gratification of their teacher. But there is much more in it than that. There is obedience to parents; there is the consequent pleasing of God, and the reward of filial behavior; there is the serving and honoring of Jesus Christ by diligence and dutifulness, by doing the right thing as in his presence and as unto him; there is the mental and moral growth which prepares for an honorable and useful manhood. Life at home or at school, in our earlier days, is really a larger thing, with larger and greater issues, than it seems to be at the time. The same is true of - .

III. STRUGGLES FOR HONOURABLE MAINTENANCE. The Christian man who thinks he is doing nothing more than "paying his way," is or may be doing a very great deal more than that. He is illustrating in his sphere the very principles which the Lord himself taught and lived when he was here; he is translating godliness, Christliness, into busy human life; he is preparing for some broader sphere in that higher kingdom where, if not before, he that has been found faithful in that which is least will be proved to be faithful in much. We not only speak in the spirit and strain of our Lord's words, but we pursue the same subject when we refer to -

IV. ENDEAVOURS TO SERVE OUR FELLOW-MEN; and this, whether in the way of common philanthropy, or of distinctively religious service. Do we ask of those whom we find in the school, or the mission-room, or the church, "What are you doing here?" And do they reply, "We are only teaching some children, only feeding some poor people, only trying to gather some wanderers into the fold"? Then shall we reply to them, and say, "Nay, but you are doing much more than that: you are serving them; and you are rendering the very highest service you can to yourselves, for you are sowing seed of which you shall one day reap a glorious harvest of joy and power; and you are also serving your Savior, and that in a way in which he most delights to be served. He is saying to you, 'If you had eyes to see, you would recognize me in those pinched faces and ill-clad forms; if you had ears to hear, you would recognize my voice in those plaintive tones; it is my need that you are supplying, it is my heart that you are gladdening: inasmuch as you are carrying succor, strength, hope, life, to one of the least of these, you are doing it unto me." - C.







The seventy returned.
I. COMMISSION OF THE SEVENTY.

1. They were commissioned of Christ.

2. They were commissioned of Christ to prepare the way before Him.

3. They received special directions when commissioned.

(1)Every one deeming himself commissioned of Christ should carefully study his Lord's "marching orders."

(2)To ignore these instructions is to prove unfitness for the Lord's service.

II. ENDOWMENT OF THE SEVENTY. Miraculous and spiritual power.

III. IDENTIFICATION OF THE SEVENTY WITH CHRIST.

1. His gospel they were to preach.

2. Himself they were to represent.

(1)Such identification is true of every minister of Christ.

(2)Such identification devolves on hearers of the gospel a responsibility simply unspeakable.

IV. RETURN OF THE SEVENTY.

1. The spirit in which they returned. Rejoicing.

2. The ground of their rejoicing.

(1)The power with which they were invested.

(2)This ground not sufficient.

(3)Why?

(a)Because of its temporariness.

(b)Because of its dangerous tendency.

3. The true ground for Christian joy. Names written in heaven.

(1)More permanent.

(2)More glorious.

(3)More satisfactory.

V. CHRIST'S JOY IN THE SEVENTY. Because of the honour the Father conferred on them.Lessons:

1. Whom Christ commissions He sufficiently endows.

2. Not great power, position, or genius the true ground of the minister's joy, but a "name written in heaven."

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

This mission and re-assembly representative for all time. This is the order of all real Christian movements and missions — from Christ to Christ.

I. THE DISCIPLES' REPORT. We see them —

1. Acting under a sense of responsibility.

2. Conscious of Christ's continued presence and power with them. The only universal guarantee of success.

3. Taking note only of secondary and superficial circumstances of success. A false guage. How careful we should be in our estimates of Christian work!

II. THE MASTER'S RECEPTION OF IT. He awaits them with —

1. An interpretation: "I was beholding." Whilst they laboured He was watching and praying. He saw Satan's downthrow. He encouraged them, and all who should follow them, to take deeper and higher views of their work.

2. A promise.

3. A caution. The true source of satisfaction is acceptance with God, and conscious communion with Him.

(St. John A. Frere, M. A.)

I. GOSPEL WORKERS IN LARGE NUMBERS MAY BE SPEEDILY EQUIPPED AND PROFITABLY EMPLOYED. Let the Church multiply "seventies" who shall go forth two by two, and will not the Lord be sure to follow?

II. FAITHFUL SERVICE FOR CHRIST BRINGS GLAD SURPRISES. Often these victories are over self. Plans for life, before worldly and selfishly ambitious, are revolutionized. Paine's siren song is without power to charm, its spell broken. Wealth for its own sake ceases its fascinations. Sad memories, disappointments, defeats, that once brought shadows and heart-ache, though not forgotten, lose their power to hurt. Habits, appetites, once dominant with more than despot's thrall and merciless cruelty, are exorcised; and the utter hopelessness of despair gives away to the buoyancy of glad faith. In Christian work, faculties take a wider range and greater efficiency than would otherwise have been possible. Slow lips become eloquent, intellects sluggish and unfruitful are cleared and competent, hands idle and inapt are active and dexterous.

III. A COMPLETE TRIUMPH OF HIS GOSPEL IS A VISION EVER PRESENT WITH OUR LORD.

IV. SOLDIERS IN THE LORD'S ARMY ARE PROMISED A COMPLETE SAFETY FROM THE POWER OF THE ENEMY. We know that the promised power over serpents and scorpions was literally bestowed. Paul, at Melita, unharmed shook the deadly viper from his hand; but the twentieth verse means more than immunity from natural evil. To-day, the words of Paul to Timothy are true: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." How explain the apparent contradiction?

1. We may understand that physical protection and preservation will be given to all who are about the Lord's business. Paul might be shipwrecked, but his life was safe until he had preached the gospel "at Rome also."

2. The Christian has fewer points of attack open to the enemy. The pure in heart are repelled by that which allures the impure. The lowly mind does not see the high things which dazzle and intoxicate.

3. The enemy is permitted power over the children of God, only thereby to bring to himself more utter defeat.

4. To all who suffer for Christ, pain is not hurt nor loss. It brings a divine ministry, the forerunner of promotion and sure joy. Christ in the soul brings a kingdom invulnerable to the enemy. Poverty, stripes, and imprisonment, all earthly ill, are powerless to invade that domain.

V. THE DISCIPLE OF CHRIST SHOULD REJOICE MOST, NOT IN VIEW OF VICTORIES HERE, BUT BECAUSE OF COMING REWARDS IN HEAVEN.

(S. L. B. Speare.)

Expository Outlines.
I. THE MISSION OF THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES IS HERE IMPLIED.

1. The purpose for which they were sent.

2. The way in which they were sent.

(1)They were sent out in pairs.

(2)They were to prosecute their work without loss of time.

(3)The manner in which they were to conduct themselves in their visits, and that in reference to those who received and those who rejected them.

II. THE SUCCESS THEY MET WITH IS HERE DECLARED.

1. Exceedingly novel.

2. Preeminently strange.

3. Not by any skill or energy of their own. "Through Thy name."

III. THIS FEELING WITH WHICH THEY REGARDED THEIR SUCCESS IS HERE SHOWS.

1. They rejoiced in the fact that success had attended their efforts.

2. That beings so hateful and dangerous were overcome.

3. The happiness which they had been instrumental in diffusing. 4, In the success of the great cause with which they were identified.

IV. A CONSIDERATION IS URGED WITH THE VIEW OF MODERATING THEIR JOY, AND DIRECTING IT INTO ANOTHER AND HIGHER CHANNEL. We see here the comparative estimate in which miraculous gifts and saving grace should be held. What is the former without the latter? It is possible to possess the one without the other (Matthew 7:21-23). To have cast out devils, and to be ourselves at last cast out among devils, will be horrible indeed!

1. What is meant by having our names written in heaven. It signifies that we are citizens of the celestial city, that we are freemen of the New Jerusalem, and that all its honours and privileges are ours by a rightful title.

2. How the fact may be ascertained. If we are citizens of heaven our conversation is there; we are strangers and pilgrims on earth; like the patriarchs of old, we are looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

3. Those may well rejoice who have satisfactory grounds for concluding that this privilege is theirs.

(Expository Outlines.)

I beheld Satan as lightning-fall from heaven.
These words refer to a definite moment in Jesus' life. That same hour in which He sent forth the seventy, He beheld Satan fall from Heaven. Yet that was a prophetic vision of the Lord. When He saw Satan falling, Jesus was in spirit above time, beholding as one finished whole, from the beginning to the end, the history of God's conquest of evil. While the seventy were going forth to win their first unexpected success in His name, the Lord in prophetic anticipation was looking back upon His work and theirs as a work already accomplished; as even the devils, to their surprise, began to be subject unto them, His Spirit went forward to the final triumph of redemption, and, as one looking back from its completion, Jesus beheld Satan fallen. Throwing ourselves forward in the pure imaginations of faith into the world to come, let us seek to look back and down upon this world as though we already were beyond it. Surrendering ourselves to our faith, and with our powers of spiritual imagination lent to the aid of our faith, let us seek' humbly to imitate our Master, and look upon our world as He looked upon this earth, when, as from a position in eternity, He saw Satan fall from heaven.

I. In the first place, if we look upon our own lives as one looks back upon a way already trodden, and a work already accomplished, we shall gain a truer sense of the proportions of things. If we can succeed in transporting ourselves beyond the present, and regarding its occupations as already past; if we can draw back, as it were, in our own souls from the events of new and here, and regard our whole life, past, present, and future, as one undivided and completed whole; then we cannot fail to gain a more just estimate of the real proportions of events in our lives, and to correct, as in a large view from beyond, our present sense of the relative importance of things. And just this true sense of proportion in life is hard for us to keep in the nearness of present things; yet it is essential to large, happy living that we should gain and keep it.

II. In the second place, in so far as we can put ourselves in the exercise of our own faiths beyond this life, we shall gain in many respects a different, and in all a more just estimate of our own real attainments. We shall see more clearly what we may expect to win for ourselves from life. Look down now upon what you have made, or are making, for yourselves in this world from this higher position after your own death. Measure what you are seeking to attain by its worth as judged by that estimate from beyond. From this point of view let us seek to determine what are the real attainments which a human being may reach in this world. That artizan, for example, has stood up faithfully for years to his work. He dies. The arm loses its strength, and the hand its cunning. What can he have gained by years of faithful work in making square-joints, honest insides, or lines true to an infinitesimal? What can the workman be conceived as keeping hereafter as the reward of all his labour under the sun? Not the eye, not the arm of flesh; yet the doctrine of the resurrection stands in the Scriptures as the pledge that our life here and hereafter is to be in all its powers one continuous life; and though this body shall return to dust, the discipline and capacity of the man, which is to be gained through the right exercise even of these bodily powers, is something which may count in the life of man for ever. Even in the honest and best exercise of his bodily senses a man may be training himself for the quick and skilled use of those powers of spiritual embodiment which shall succeed these mortal powers. That artist, for instance, who one evening as we gained the crest of a hill, with an exclamation of delight, counted instantly five different hues upon the horizon where my duller eye had only seen at first glance one resplendence of the setting sun, may have gained in that quick sense of colour a power which shall be carried on as a possession of the soul into the spiritual body, enabling that trained artist's spirit hereafter to see with instantaneous and enhanced delight the hues and harmonies of colour of the new heavens and the new earth. Hence I venture to say that the training and discipline of any power in the honest work of a lifetime may be so much real attainment for immortality — so much gain carried in the man himself through death into the world of larger opportunity. A man, therefore, should perform all his labour on this earth not as though what he does now is all of it, but as an heir of immortality. Jesus lived for two worlds at one and the same time. He was the Son of Man who was in heaven, as the Scripture says. All true, deep life must have something of the sense of heaven in it as a present fact.

III. We are led, thus, to the third remark that only as we strive to throw ourselves forward into the life beyond, and to consider our whole existence here as it is in its relation to the man and his life then and there, can we form a safe estimate of the worths of things. Such and such opportunities are brought now within reach of a young man or woman. What are they worth? Success is a safe happiness to the Christian man who can look down upon it as from out the kingdom of heaven. Success is a danger and snare of soul to that man who is not himself already in his heart above it. This position, finally, as of one looking back upon this world, which we all need sometimes to take in the Christian imaginations of faith, is the position from which in a little while we must be judging all things both in life and death. Our whole life erelong shall be one finished picture in the retrospect. And may it lie then behind us in the softening, hallowing light of God's grace! By the grace of God, the penitent, converted man, even now judging himself from out the hereafter, as Christ did the world, may say: From my life I saw sin falling; from the heaven of my desires I beheld Satan fallen; — Behold God alone is reigning.

(Newman Smyth, D. D.)

There is a strangely widespread belief that Satan is lame, and that this was caused by his fall. In classical mythology we find limping Vulcan; and Hephaistes was lamed by his fall when hurled by Zeus from Olympus. Our idea of the devil always includes the clubbed or cloven foot.

(Biblical Things not Generally Known.)

Power to tread on serpents and scorpions.
Of these Tristram says: "They swarm in every part of Palestine, and are found in houses, in chinks of walls, among ruins, and under stones, whether in dry or moist situations. It is always necessary before pitching tents to turn up every stone, however small, lest a scorpion should be secreted; as, when disturbed or roused by the warmth of the camp, these troublesome pests will strike at and sting any person or object within reach. So numerous are they that in the warmer parts of the country every third stone is sure to conceal one I have known an instance of a man dying from the effects of a scorpion's sting, which he had received in the throat when leaning against a wall in which the creature was secreted." The scorpion is described as having much the appearance of a small lobster; it has two claws, extending from near the head, eight feet, and a long, jointed tail, terminating in the sting, which inflicts a painful and sometimes fatal wound. The largest and most dangerous species is black, and about six inches long.

Mr. Allen Thomson, in a letter published in Nature, says: "While residing many years ago during the summer months at the baths of Lucca, in Italy, in a somewhat damp locality, my informant, together with the rest of the family, was much annoyed by the intrusion of small black scorpions into the house, and their being secreted among the bedclothes, in shoes, and in other articles of dress. It thus became necessary to be constantly on the watch for these troublesome creatures, and to take means for their removal and destruction. Having been informed by the natives of the place that the scorpion would destroy itself if exposed to a sudden light, my informant and her friends soon became adepts in catching the scorpions and disposing of them in the manner suggested. This consisted in confining the animal under an inverted drinking-glass or tumbler, below which a card was inserted when the capture was made, and then, waiting till dark, suddenly bringing the light of a candle near to the glass in which the animal was confined. No sooner was this done than the scorpion invariably showed signs of great excitement, running round and round the interior of the troubler with reckless velocity for a number of times. This state having lasted for a minute or more, the animal suddenly became quiet, and turning its tail or the hinder part of its body over its back, brought its recurred sting down upon the middle of the head, and, piercing it forcibly, in a few seconds became quite motionless, and, in fact, quite dead. This observation was repeated very frequently; in truth it was adopted as the best plan of getting rid of the animals, and the young people were in the habit of handling the scorpions with impunity immediately after they were so killed, and of preserving many of them as curiosities."

Brainerd, in his narrative of his work among the American Indians, confesses his great embarrassment. "When I have instructed them respecting the miracles wrought by Christ, they have quickly referred to the wonders of that kind performed by their diviner;... a fatal obstruction to some of them in the way of receiving the gospel." Yet, though Brainerd could do none of these mighty works, he was the means of the conversion of that very diviner by the influence of his own life and the spiritual truths which he taught.

(J. M. Buckley.)

Mr. Gobat, the late Bishop of Jerusalem, when engaged as a missionary in Abyssinia, retired on one occasion, in a season of deep spiritual depression and gloom, into a cavern, and there poured out his heart in earnest supplication, beseeching that God would not desert him, but encourage him in his trials. He remained in the cavern for some time. When he rose from his knees, his eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, and he saw that he had been there with a hyena and her cubs, which yet had, marvellously, not been permitted to attack him. At the very time when he deemed himself forgotten, he received this striking manifestation that the God of providence was nigh to shield and protect him.

(Memoirs of Bishop Gobat.)

The Psylli, according to Pliny, were so characteristically endowed with this immunity (from snake-bites), that they made it a test of the legitimacy of their children; for they were accustomed to expose their new-born babes to the most venomous serpents they could find, assured chat if their paternity was pure Psyllic they would be quite unharmed. Of this tribe was the ambassador Hexagon, who, boasting of his powers before the Roman consuls, submitted to the crucial test which they suggested, of being enclosed in a vessel swarming with poisonous reptiles, which, says the legendary story, hurt him not.

(Philip H. Gosse, F. R. S.)

Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
I. CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP IS MAN'S HIGHEST BLESSEDNESS. This is the first thing I have to endeavour to illustrate and impress.

1. And in the forefront of all I set this consideration, namely, that the having the name written in heaven implies the Divine acceptance of us, as attested to our consciousness. Indeed, brethren, this is a blessed thing; blessed in itself, and blessed, moreover, in all its bearings and influences upon all our life. For, to know that we are at peace with God and are now the objects of the Divine complacency, O how it bathes everything with its own sunshine l Look out upon the world with eyes purged by the euphrasy of God's acceptance of you through Christ, and you will see it flushed with a thousand beauties never seen till now, and brightened with glancing lights and splendours where before it was all darkness and gloominess to you.

2. Emancipation from the thraldom of sin, and introduction into the glorious liberty of the children of God. "Free." "Free indeed." Yes, it is a glorious freedom that is conferred upon the heavenly citizen. "He is the freedman whom the truth makes free; and all are slaves besides." It is not liberty merely to have no gyves upon your wrist and no clanking fetters about your feet. That is a poor thing in comparison of that inward deliverance from the tyranny of evil which enables a man to stand up in the blessed consciousness that he is now master even of himself. Besides, the freedom of the children of God has another side. It is not only a freedom from sin, it is also a freedom unto God and unto holiness.

3. Then, further, in this citizenship there is also an immunity from care. Now, I say, when a man becomes a citizen of heaven he is set free from this care, as well as from sin. The charter of the New Jerusalem assures him that having secured the highest good all lesser good shall be added unto him.

4. Then, too, in illustrating the blessedness of the Christian citizen I ought to speak of the "strong consolation" which is ministered to him in all times of his adversity and sorrow. An immunity from trial is not indeed among his privileges. That would not be for his real good. No; as steel acquires its fine temper in the fire, as the sweetest music issues from the darkened cage, as spices must be bruised if we would breathe their odours, so "blessed are they that mourn"; "blessed are they that weep now." A blessedness is theirs which the always prosperous and the ever merry cannot know.

5. Last of all, and best of all, beyond all this wealth of earthly advantage and benefit there is laid up for the Christian citizen the blessedness of the life to come. To have the name written in heaven is to be able "to read our titles clear to mansions in the skies."

II. And now it will not need, I think, that I should argue the point of the text, viz., that ENROLMENT IN HEAVEN SHOULD CONSTITUTE OUR MASTER-JOY. For all rational beings their chief good should and must form their chief joy.

III. And so, in conclusion, and as the practical outcome of the subject for ourselves, let me say —

1. First, to those of you who can rejoice in the assurance that your names are written in heaven. Take care that this icy maintain its supremacy within you. Be sure that you allow no other joy to displace it or to overtop it. Observe it — I do not say — even as our Lord does not say in the text, rightly understood — that you are not to rejoice at all in anything save and besides your Christian felicity. That were ingratitude to God. That were an irrational asceticism. Nay, but if you have health of body and soundness of mind, rejoice in this physical blessedness, as being of priceless advantage to you.

2. And, to those of you whose names are not yet written in heaven, let me say that this supreme joy of religion, so far from extinguishing such of your earthly pleasures as are innocent and legitimate would inconceivably brighten and increase them.

(T. Akroyd.)

I. THE JOY WHICH NEEDS MODERATING. The joy of triumph over evil spirits, the joy of having preached the gospel and wrought wonders — in a word, the joy of gifts, power, and success. This needs moderating —

1. Because it is so apt to degenerate into pride.

2. Again, this joy which needs to be moderated should be restrained by the reflection that it is no evidence of grace in the heart that we possess gifts, or that we are successful. Talents are possessed even by wicked and slothful servants. Grace without talent will save, but talent without grace will only increase our condemnation.

3. Moreover, it is very unsafe to rejoice unduly in the work which we have done, because the work after all may not turn out to be all that it appears. It is too early to begin to rejoice until the fire has passed over our life-work.

4. This joy, again, however good our work" may be, is to be moderated, because it does not prove that we are any more gracious than others of far less gift and usefulness.

5. Again, this joy in success needs to be kept under tight rein because it is not an abiding joy. If thou, O man, rejoice to-day because of subject devils, what wilt thou do to-morrow, when the devils break loose again? What if He should send thee among Samaritans, who will not even hear thee, and thou shalt have to go from city to city and wipe off the dust of thy feet against them?

6. Once again, this joy, if we were to be filled with it to overflowing, would be found unable to bear the strain of trial, trouble, temptation, and especially of death.

II. THE JOY WHICH NEEDS EXCITING. "Because your names are written in heaven."

1. The joy which our Lord commends is one which springs from faith, while the other joy arises alone from sight.

2. This joy consists in knowing our election — "knowing, dearly beloved, your election of God," knowing that your names were written in heaven. To be God's choice is the choicest of delights.

3. Brethren, this is a joy which can be cultivated. How are we to cultivate it? If we desire to have much of this joy we must make the fact sure. We must be certain that our names are written in heaven, or else we cannot rejoice in it.

III. Now, lastly, into this joy the Saviour enters, and we have to look, in the third place, to THE JOY OF THE LORD IN SYMPATHY with it, and so we add to our text the first sentence of the 21st verse — "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit." Why did He rejoice?

1. Because grace was given.

2. Jesus was also glad at the Father's choice. He said, "I thank Thee, O Father." He looks at these seventy babes out of whose mouth He has ordained strength, and He says, "I thank thee, O Father, for having chosen these."

3. Notice the spirit in which Jesus puts His thanksgiving — He is satisfied with the choice because it is God's choice. "Even so, Father," said He, "for so it seemed good in Thy sight."

4. Then our Saviour went on to rejoice because the grace of God given to us has revealed to us Christ, and revealed to us the Father, for He says, "no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."

5. Jesus exulted because there was a fellowship about all this, for He speaks of His knowing the Father and the Father knowing Him, and then of our knowing the Father because the Son has revealed Him unto us — all of which implies a wondrous communication and communion with the Father and with the Son. Now, this, I take it, is the cream of joy, a joy in which Christ partakes as He has fellowship with the Father and with us, and of which we partake as we have fellowship with Him and with the Father.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE REJOICING SPIRIT WHICH THE SEVENTY NOW EXHIBIT.

1. It was in spiritual matter.

2. It was with a self-renouncing disposition that they expressed it.

3. Their report is brought direct to the feet of their Master.

4. There is evidently no mistake in their report, no delusion on their part.

II. THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE CAUTION OR SUGGESTION WHICH CHRIST HERE UTTERS.

1. To rejoice genuinely, in even the very highest work done for the soul of another, must have its dangerous side. It does not guide a humbling look into oneself.

2. It may have a directly disastrous effect, feeding spiritual pride, contributing to self-confidence, and absolutely., calling off the attention of the soul from itself.

4. On the other hand, rejoicing in the conviction or in the certainty that one's own "name is written in heaven," leads one to review all that is most desirable to review.

(Philip C. Barker, M. A.)

"Your names are written in heaven."

1. How it is to be understood.

2. How desirable it is.

3. How alone it is to be obtained.

(Van Oosterzee.)

1. Its only ground.

2. Its all-surpassing worth.

(Van Oosterzee.)

Heaven is here compared to a city or corporation, in which a list or record is kept of all the citizens or freemen who are entitled to its privileges and immunities. "How may I know whether my unworthy name be written in heaven? who can open and read the records of heaven, and show me whether my name is registered there?" I answer, This is a secret that may be discovered; for all that have their names written in heaven, may be distinguished by their characters, their temper, and practice, while upon earth. And their characters are such as these:

1. They are deeply sensible of the vanity of all earthly things, and that heaven alone is a sufficient portion and happiness. All that are registered as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, have a superlative esteem of that privilege, and count all things but loss in comparison of it (Matthew 12:24-26; Matthew 13:45, 46).

2. All that have their names written in heaven have a heavenly nature; a nature very different from that of the men of this world, and like that of the citizens of heaven. And is this your temper? or is it earthly and sensual?

3. All that have their names written in heaven have a peculiar love for all their fellow-citizens, who are heirs of heaven. They love them as members of the same corporation with themselves (1 John 3:14).

4. If your names are written in heaven it is the chief business and concern of your life to obtain an interest in heaven. And do you thus seek the kingdom of heaven? (Matthew 10:12; Luke 16:16).

I. If your names are written in heaven, this is the greatest cause of joy you can possibly have; a joy that may swallow up every other joy.

II. If your names are not written in heaven, you can have no cause of solid, rational, and lasting joy in any thing.

(President Davies.)

This opinion is not believed by thee, but is only pretended, as a cloak for thy wickedness and idleness; for if thou dost believe that, if God hath elected, He will save thee however thou livest, why are not thy practices answerable to such principles? Why dost thou net leave thy ground unsowed, and thy calling unfollowed, and say, If God hath decreed me a crop of corn, I shall have it, whether I sow my ground or no; and if God hath decreed me an estate, I shall have it, though I never mind my calling? Why dost thou not neglect and refuse eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and say, If God hath decreed that I shall live longer, I shall do it, though I never eat, or drink, or sleep? For God hath decreed these things concerning thy ground, estate, and natural life, as well as concerning thine eternal condition in the other world.

(G. Swinnock.)

— A senator related to his son the account of the book containing the names of illustrious members of the commonwealth. The son desired to see the outside. It was glorious to look upon. "Oh, let me open it," said the son. "Nay," said the father: "it's known only to the council." Then said the son, "Tell me if my name is there?" And that, said the father, "is a secret known only to the council, and it cannot be divulged." Then he desired to know for what achievements the names were inscribed in that book. So the father told him; and related .to him the achievements and noble deeds by which they had eternized their names. "Such," said he, "are written, and none but such are written in the book." "And will my name be there?" said the son." "I cannot tell thee," said the father; "if thy deeds are like theirs, thou shalt be written in the book; if not, thou shalt not be written." And then the son consulted with himself; and he found that his whole deeds were playing, and singing, and drinking, and amusing himself, and he found this was not noble nor temperate nor valiant. And as he could not read, as yet, his name, he determined to "make his calling and election sure." And thus, by patient continuance in well-doing, the end is crowned with glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life.

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